Lots of interest and great feedback...but no offers!

emily928April 25, 2013

This is my first time selling a house, and I keep hearing that there's a lot of activity in the 200-250k price range and more buyers than houses on the market. Our listing's been up almost 3 weeks, and I know that's not a long time in real estate terms, but we've had 20-25 showings and 20 sets of people come through our open house and have gotten good feedback on how our house shows. But no offers. I know the two main drawbacks of the house are that the garage is on the basement level, and our kitchen is small and outdated. But given that, I think we're priced pretty appropriately. If we were way out of line with the price, I'd think we wouldn't have as many showings. If someone really liked it but just wasn't willing to pay what we're asking, wouldn't they make us an offer to see if we'll bite? One other drawback is that the carpet in most of the house is worn, but I don't want to replace it necessarily because who knows what the new owners will like. I would think people would ask for a carpet allowance if that was holding them back. Maybe I don't understand the psychology completely. Anyway, any feedback from you RE veterans would be most welcome. Here is a link to the listing: http://glarmls.com/GLARReports/ListitLib/report_builder.aspx I should also add that our agent has been very involved following up with all the buyers' agents, and when we do get feedback it is always the garage/kitchen issues, which honestly is a big part of why we're moving so we know we can't do anything about that!

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I can't get your link to work.

But, if you've had that many showings, then your price isn't low enough yet to entice someone given the house's "faults". There are other houses of comparable price without issues of the kitchen/garage and so they are the winners when your buyers go to make an offer.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Thanks - hopefully this link actually works.

I was wrong - it has only been almost 2 weeks, not almost 3. We won't wait too long to consider dropping the price, but at this point I still think (hope?) there are people still considering it who are looking at a few more houses then will hopefully circle back.

Here is a link that might be useful: MLS # 1357199

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:52PM
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This one works.
The home is tasteful and neutrally decorated. That is good. Is your master walk in closet still as full as the picture? Might be worth boxing 1/2 of the clothes in that closet to let it show a little better.
Is the striped bathroom wallpaper or paint?
Is it common to have no fence?

Almost 2 weeks is better than almost 3.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Two more things--updating your kitchen lighting could also be a good thing (and anywhere you have those linear fluorescents)...
And, is that a dehumidifier in your basement picture?! If you have an issue with water in your basement/dampness, that could also be a detraction for buyers.

This post was edited by kirkhall on Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 21:56

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:52PM
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When we listed our house a few years ago we had a ton of showings in the first couple of weeks, had a few second visits...but didn't sell for almost a year and a $100k price drop.

So, lots of activity is better than no activity. People aren't ruling you out as overpriced right off the bat. But they are coming and then not buying.

My experience is that if people think your price is way out of line they will assume that you won't be reasonable and won't offer. There are exceptions, but it seems to shake out that way most of the time.

Small outdated kitchen is an issue. I could see it was small in the photos but it amazed me when I was selling how many people would come and look at the house and what they said in feedback they didn't like was something clearly pictured....

I would guess for some they think before they show up that maybe they can overlook some feature they don't like, but then arrive and can't overlook it. And some people I guess just don't look that carefully at the photos.

Kitchen remodels are expensive so people may be factoring that in (for those that out of date is more an issue than those who would reject it due to size)

My experience has been that you do better going ahead and replacing carpet yourself. I personally would prefer the carpet allowance...but I've had to learn that I am not typical.

For the vast majority of people, they will be perfectly happy to have a neutral color carpet and it doesn't really have to be that high quality since it will still look nice since it is new (do get a reasonable carpet pad).

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:54PM
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I think you need to give yourself a little more time. 2 weeks is too soon to panic. If you weren't getting showings, I would be worried.

At this point, unless you are getting negative feedback on something, I think I would just leave well enough alone and give it some time

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:05AM
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" If we were way out of line with the price, I'd think we wouldn't have as many showings."

Not true. People look at houses in their price range. Your house is in their range so they see it. Even with lots of pictures, one can't really get a feel for a house until they see it in person. I've seen lots of houses that look lovely, but once I step inside there is something not right. It might be a pet smell. In your case, I can't tell the carpet is worn from the pictures. That would be a surprise for me. People will compare your house to others in the same price range. There were times I had clients that insisted on seeing a house in their price range that I knew was overpriced. Once inside, they compared it to others and realized it was overpriced.

The number of showings is an indication of the number of buyers in the price range. Unless the price is extremely high or extremely low, the number of showings isn't necessarily related to whether your house is properly priced.

" If someone really liked it but just wasn't willing to pay what we're asking, wouldn't they make us an offer to see if we'll bite?"

No. There are many barriers to making an offer on a house. Many people will assume that if a seller was unreasonable about pricing the house at the start, the seller will be unreasonable with an offer, the inspections, etc. You don't want to set yourself up as an unreasonable seller from the start. Why put another barrier up?

I don't know your market, but in general if a house has had 20-25 showings in 2 weeks with no offers or no second showings, something is wrong. I don't count open house viewers. Many are not really at the stage where they want to make an offer. Again, this is also very market specific. Ask your agent.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:04AM
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Have you gone to any new build open houses in your price range? Competing with new construction is probably the biggest hurdle for an older home. If you're not priced lower than newer homes with more attractive kitchens and a better floor plan, then selling before them is going to be a challenge, even if you have more square footage.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:27AM
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What a nice house - and beautiful grounds. Your curb appeal is outstanding. Some people might not like the sloping yard, but you've done a wonderful job with the outside.

The inside seems very spacious. You might want to post this on the home decorating section of GW, as the posters over there usually have some really constructive suggestions.

I've looked through the pictures. I won't make comments that require a lot of money (e.g., updating the kitchen), but a couple of staging issues that occurred to me (others may disagree of course):

The house is painted in neutral colors, but perhaps too neutral. The couches and furniture are as neutral as the walls. I think you might do well to insert some color via pillows, curtains, etc. You don't have to have the cocktail and side tables empty. Put some colorful flowers or colorful books out to give texture to the room.

The pictures all uniformly hung too high. Over the couch in the living room, for instance, the picture and sconces over the couch are so high that the first thing I saw was the hvac vent near the ceiling rather than the room itself. Pictures and other wall hangings should be part of the furniture groupings, not positioned so they draw attention to the ceiling. Take a look at pictures in the home decorating section of GW and see the height that most people prefer.

Are those white chairs on the deck plastic? You seem to have a nice set out there on one side, and then some plastic ones on the other side. I suggest you just toss the white plastic ones. It will make the deck appear more spacious and upgrade it at the same time.

Re-arrange the bedroom that has the bed in front of part of the window. The bed is off-center and obscures the light, giving the room a crowded feel and makie it appear smaller than it is.

Take a couple of the diningroom chairs out, leaving just four at the table, put them in the basement around the table, and pack the folding chairs away. You should be able to walk around a table or it looks like the buyer's stuff won't fit properly either.

Agree with a poster above that the walk in closet needs to have some of the clothes packed away.

I really wish you all the best. Maybe you'll get an offer this weekend, and don't have to do anything more anyway ! Hope so. it's a very nice house.

This post was edited by hayden2 on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 8:40

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:29AM
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Wow, this house would be close to 1 million in my area. Overall, it looks very nice but I also agree to post your rooms on the decorating forum and ask for feedback.
Just a few suggestions:
Remove the swags.
Replace the carpets. You want your house to look pristine and well-taken care of and ready to move in.
Rearrange the bedroom with the bed in front of the window as it looks like it's really too cramped; maybe smaller bed to the side?
The bar in the family room looks more like a bathroom sink. Stage it so that it really looks like a bar.

However, the most important issue is the comparables. It looks like the 4BR home on the market that's closest to you is only 165K, and there are several houses very close to your price or even lower, some of which are bigger with a larger lot, hardwood floors, large kitchen, and cathedral ceiling. Have you looked at them and compared them to your house?

Here is a link that might be useful: other listing

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:42AM
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I love the outside of your house. Very nice.

I am one that thinks too many pictures aren't a good thing - no need to show every crack and crevice. But, you are getting a lot of showings in spite of showing everyone your entire house, and with those extremely dark pictures too, so it doesn't seem to be a detriment to you.

One piece of advice I would give everyone before they list: have a professional real estate photographer take your pictures (as opposed to the realtor), crop, pre-select and you give them to the realtor to use. Yes, you and your realtor may make the decision together on what to use, but at least you know your pictures will be awesome! I wonder how long it will be before sellers start making pinterest boards of their houses to match urls?

Are all the lots in your area/price range that small? Is that carpet in your dining room? Is carpet normal in the living room? And I agree with unjamming your bedroom closet.

If you think you are priced correctly, take a tour of the houses for sale in your area. See what your competitors are offering at their price. It may give you an idea or two, or you may need to drop your price a few dollars to become the best deal on the block.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:55AM
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I would remove some furniture (dressers, nightstands, extra chairs) and pictures and box up as much "stuff" as you can. For example, if you have a bookcase, only put a few items on each shelf.

We live in SW Ohio and $250,000 is supposed to be a hot price range here as well. We found that the current buyers (lots of military) wanted the house to be absolutely move-in ready. We were told that buyers didn't care what the carpet looked like, just so it was new carpet (of course you would choose neutral).

Also, is your refrigerator SS and the other appliances black? We were told matching appliances had to match. We got all new SS appliances for $2100 and sold the old ones on craigslist for $1000. If you replace the range, MW, and DW and sell the old ones, your net cost would be well under $1000. That might be enough to give you an updated look.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:33PM
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I agree that new pictures should be taken, but some of the ones that you have are too dark and could be improved:

Here is a link that might be useful: Realtor.com link with bigger pictures

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:40PM
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DO the new carpet. No one really wants to live with a reminder of the PO permanently stained into the home. It's an "ick" factor that clean unstained carpet doesn't have.

There really isn't a lot that you can do for that tiny kitchen other than declutter as much as possible and be sure that you turn on the under cabinet lights for the photo. If you don't have under cabinet lights, install some inexpensive fluorescents that will just plug into the back splash outlets. Do them for the hutch area as well. And replace the box fluorescent with a semi-flush fixture in something like a black or ORB to echo the dark pulls. You may have to do a bit of touchup paint on the ceiling to do that, but it would at least keep the kitchen from looking so immediately dated. The white cabinets are pretty spot on trend, even if they have the older style exposed hinges.

Everything else looks good, other than the already mentioned dark pictures. That's your first impression with any buyer, and you want to make a better first impression, so it's worth taking new pictures with a professional who will add additional indirect lighting to the room to keep the contrast down and make sure everything is able to be seen.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:43PM
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